General Motors is working with Microsoft to accelerate the introduction of its electric self-driving cars.
In the partnership announced on Tuesday, the two companies said that Microsoft’s Azure cloud and edge computing platform will be used to “promote its unique self-driving car solutions on a large scale.”
Microsoft, together with General Motors, Honda and other institutional investors, has made a new equity investment of more than US$2 billion (approximately Rs 146.2 billion) in Cruise, bringing its valuation to approximately US$30 billion (approximately Rs 21,400 billion) . Cruise, which was acquired by General Motors in 2016, has been a leader in driverless technology and was approved from California at the end of last year to test its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco without a backup driver.
Car companies have been uniting and inviting technology companies to join, trying to share the huge cost of developing driverless and electric vehicles-essentially risk.
Honda is participating in the Cruise project with General Motors, Volkswagen, and Ford, Ford Motors is cooperating with Pittsburgh self-driving car company Argo AI, and Hyundai Motors joined Fiat Chrysler last summer in a deal using Waymo’s driverless car technology.
Toyota and Uber are also collaborating, while Amazon skipped part of the automaker and acquired the autonomous driving technology company Zoox last summer, which is developing self-driving cars for ride-hailing services.
Sam Abuelsamid, an industry analyst at Guidehouse Insights, said there is still some way to go before the mass adoption and profitability of driverless cars.
Abuelsamid said: “The reality is that autonomous driving technology will take a few years to mature much.” “It may be until the middle of the decade before we start to see a large number of such vehicles.”
Abuelsamid added that the importance of including companies like Microsoft is its cloud computing capabilities and its ability to analyze vehicle data to improve technology.
GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said: “Microsoft is an important member of the team as we move towards a future world with zero collisions, zero emissions and zero congestion.” “Microsoft will help. We accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s fully electric self-driving cars and help General Motors gain more benefits from cloud computing, because we will launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to promote increase.”
General Motors has been actively changing its image, saying the industry has become a historic turning point for the mass adoption of electric vehicles. The 112-year-old Detroit automaker announced a new company logo this month to mark its new direction in publicly switching to electric vehicles. It wants to be seen as a clean car company, not a manufacturer of gasoline-powered pickup trucks and SUVs.
General Motors scrapped its old square blue logo as a lowercase gm, surrounded by rounded corners and an “m” that looked like a power plug.
General Motors shares rose by more than 9% in afternoon trading, reaching $54.58 (approximately 4,000 rupees).